Climate Psychology Alliance came into being after a series of conferences organised by University of the West of England’s Centre for Psycho-Social Studies (CPSS).
The first in 2009 Facing Climate Change was conceived and chaired by Adrian Tait, with speakers George Marshall, founder of Climate Outreach (formerly COIN), Professor Paul Hoggett, Director of CPSS, and Ecopsychologist Mary-Jayne Rust. There was a wide range of workshops and Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility (PCSR) contributed through its then Chair, Judith Anderson.
After four further events involving CPSS, bringing psychoanalytic, psycho-social and other psychological perspectives to bear on the issue of human engagement with the twin challenges of climate change and ecological crisis, questions began to emerge:
- Is there common ground to be developed between the diverse range of psychological disciplines?
- Can this be used effectively as a resource for improved communication in the voluntary sector, government and the public sphere?
- How might collaboration to this end be most fruitfully pursued?
- If the climate/ecology problem is the greatest challenge to our own survival yet created and faced by humanity, are we motivated to transcend our cultural differences in the interest of pooling energies, insights and potential influence?
The Climate Psychology Alliance was launched to put these questions to the test. We hope to demonstrate that our shared field, with its knowledge of mechanisms such as denial, has the capacity to make a useful contribution to the task of mobilising a relevant collective response. This must involve the work of both mitigation and adaptation.
Central to the vision behind CPA is that we are seeking to place human science alongside natural science in the cause of ecologically informed living, through understanding and facing difficult truths.